Diet Drinks are Still Bad

In a recent post, I mentioned that as part of my trying move towards achieving my 2023 goal of “be healthier” I was going to quit energy drinks. There are multiple reasons for this, many of which I am going into detail in this post. What I did not quite anticipate is the human mind’s ability to move towards something just as bad when a crutch is taken away.

Energy drinks, cigarettes, and car-parks

I was emo, and arguably still am based on my Spotify Libary. Growing up in the 2010s as an emo was a very odd experience. I think it is best personified by a Facebook post I read once that said “the girls look like boys, the boys look like girls, and all of them don’t seem to understand why they are sexually confused”. Looking back it wasn’t counterculture, nor was it rebellious in any way - It was just cringe. From the incessant Facebook posts going RAWR - Dat means I wub woo in dinosaur or the ongoing feud between BVB fans and metal heads that didn’t consider it “real metal”, the whole 7-year epoch for me was borderline ridiculous. There are some experiences I have had where if I was allowed to go back I would still do it, just for the experience. This is not one of them.

Being me I made the whole experience 100x worse for myself. I didn’t even quite know what “emo” was until I joined secondary school, but I did know that I was a bit of a metalhead. I accidentally found my dad’s Alice Cooper and Guns and Roses CDs are some point, and it escalated from there. I was very outspoken about this too, music was a big part of who I was, and most of my idols at the time were musicians. Some of my peers applied the label grunger, but others asked me if I was an emo - A label I very quickly adopted. I grew my hair out and died it black, wore mainly dark clothes, listened to absolutely dog s**t bands, and hung out by the bins with a group of people my age who seemed to have to allot of problems at home. On a weekend I would hang out with my friends (most of which were absolute losers) and gravitate from Mcdonald’s to Burger King to Subway - circulating whenever a security guard would move us on because sitting in a fast food restaurant for two hours without ordering something was us understandably taking liberties.

When we turned 16 we upped the anti - Suddenly every around me, like they suddenly received a mandatory personality update, was having sex, drinking, and smoking. I recently ran into a member of the old crowd and reminisced about how I’d up this period was. She was 15 and had a 26-year-old boyfriend who was also in our group - she does porn now, ever proving that all it takes to strive in the adult film industry is unresolved childhood trauma. I would be lying if I acted as if I partook in underage drinking, sex, and smoking (all of which I witnessed at least once in a car park) - I may have thought I was a renegade in my head, but I was just a lost kid who fell into with kids who were even more lost.

That is the point of this rant - It was all an act for me. I didn’t know who I was so I picked an easy drag-and-drop personality because it was easier. What does this have to do with energy drinks? Well, the connection is loose, I will give you that, but emos during this period seemed to love monsters. I have a feeling it was because of the marketing around it, or maybe because of this video

If this doesn’t load just look up “woman connects monster with satan”

I can tell you pretty honestly, the bog standard monster drink tastes like s–t. I don’t care what anyone says, I drank it through most of my misspent youth, and as much as I used to pretend to like it I didn’t. It tastes like a mixture of WKD-Blue, flat coke, and heartburn. It’s not even a taste that grows on you like coffee or beer, I just get worse. Monster knows this too, otherwise, they wouldn’t produce alright flavors like Mule, Mango, etc. However, the fact is I had been building up a caffeine dependence because regardless of the reasons behind my drinking these drinks, they were still latching themselves into my brain’s system 1. This only compounded as I went to university, and then move from uni into working nights. Caffeine up until this point in my life had been ever-present since my pre-teen years, and despite the ongoing warnings it took me until now to decide to kick it.

Those negative health effects include, but are not limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Kidney damage

If you take anything from this post it’s this - These drinks are not good for you, and a complete coffee will give you the same benefits with much less of drawbacks. Do yourself a favor and ween off, and quit.

Quitting and the cobra effect

The “Cobra effect” is a term to describe a situation where an attempted solution to a problem, actually makes the problem worse. The term originated from an anecdote about the British Colonies in India, where they attempted to reduce the number of Cobras by offering a bounty for each dead Cobra. This worked until the locals started breeding cobra to earn the bounty, leading to the overall increase in the cobra population when the scheme was eventually abandoned. This is usually used nowadays to describe the well-meaning, but poorly planned solutions to problems. About two weeks ago I decided that now was the time for me to quit caffeinated energy drinks. Before I quit I was ordering a 12-pack of Monster Mule a week, and hammering it back in the morning as I woke up. I have a mug I use at work that says “Don’t talk to me until I have smoked my morning crack”, in this instance monster mule was my crack. In the time that I have quit two major things have happened.

The first was a misconception of lethargy. I call it a misconception because upon getting past the first-week mark I came to understand that I have been abusing caffeine for so long, that upon experiencing caffeine-sobriety I mistook it for drowsiness. I am not discounting that I do still feel tired, but I have a feeling that is more to do with my poor sleep pattern and weight than lack of caffeine.

The second thing to happen was I encountered my mental cobra effect. My plan to quit energy drinks has worked, but only because shortly after I began pounding back tins of diet coke like [INSERT INAPROPRIATE ANALOGY ABOUT GLORY HOLES HERE]. I think my record in one shift was 8 cans of diet coke, a feat my gut did not thank me for the following week or so.

I think an important misconception people make is that diet sodas are just as bad for us as the regular alternatives:

  • Weight Gain: Despite being marketed as being the healthier option, the artificial sweeteners in these drinks can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate calorie intake. This means the average person consumes more calories when drinking diet drinks than they would without (this can be debated as it related to lifestyle, but ill leave that to professionals to do)
  • Increased risk of type 3 diabetes: The artificial sweeteners in these drinks can interrupt the body’s ability to process sugar, and therefore can lead to type 2 diabetes
  • Increased risk of metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, none of them pretty. However, diet soda has been linked to this forming in people. The list goes on - I won’t bother listing references, the people who read this blog already know these things, and the people who don’t believe it will continue to do so reference or not.

I have in the past two days decided to speed up my timeline, and I am attempting to adjust my relationship with fizzy drinks as a whole. A friend sent me a video, not too long ago about a girl who decided to attach a Tamagotchi to her water bottle, and every time it beeps she takes a drink. I’ve been giving that a go over the past couple of days and it seems to have worked a charm, however, I am early days in. This is not the first time I have tried to do something similar to this, but I fully intend it to be the last.

Side note: I am hyper-aware I am running about 5 posts behind what I wanted to do this month - I am trying to make a good workflow to help me write these slightly faster. Regardless, I will see you at the next one


A general purpose blog for me to braindump anything I might be thinking about. Please dont hesistate to reach out if you have any questions